|Phil Pressey makes first career start, leads Celtics to victory||01.16.14 at 12:24 am ET|
A few minutes into the third quarter, Phil Pressey jetted around a pick-and-roll, confidently rose for an 18-foot jump shot and connected. But before he could celebrate a whistle sounded: A Boston foul nullified Pressey’s first points as a Celtic starter.
“I felt like that really was going to get me goin. When I finally hit one, it felt good,” Pressey said with a smile after Wednesday night’s game.
Pressey never scored those elusive first two points, but with Boston’s 10-game losing streak snapped in the team’s 88-83 win over the Raptors, he can now boast about his 1-0 record as a starting point guard in the NBA.
The undrafted rookie free agent’s 0-for-5 shooting line and zero points were not indicative of the impact he made on the game. Pressey dished out a career-high 10 assists and did not commit a single turnover in 26 minutes of play — also a career-high.
Pressey liked the 10 dimes, but not as much as the zero turnovers.
“I know if I take care of the ball, I know I’m giving my team an opportunity to get more shots up. That’s what I pride myself on,” Pressey said.
The Celtics‘ thinness at the guard position necessitated Pressey’s insertion into the lineup. (Starting point guard Jordan Crawford and reserve guard MarShon Brooks were dealt to the Warriors, Rajon Rondo is still out, and Keith Bogans indefinitely left the team for personal reasons).
Pressey said he was alerted of his promotion in shootaround. Yet the suddenness of the promotion was not alarming.
“The guys embraced me from the start, like I’ve been there from day one, so it was very easy for me to step in and help my team out,” Pressey said.
Pressey started off slowly, but he helped spark a 6-0 run to end the half that put Boston ahead 45-41. With under one minute left, Pressey and Jared Sullinger executed a pick-and-roll that culminated with Sullinger canning a long running jumper. Pressey then pick-pocketed Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry and set off in transition where he found a trailing Avery Bradley with a smooth behind-the-back pass for an easy layup. Then Pressey collected a Raptors miss and alertly sent an outlet pass to Bradley, who had leaked ahead of the field. Bradley was fouled and made both free throws.
Pressey helped extend Boston’s lead to 17 with three assists in the third quarter.
“I thought when things got tough, he got tough,” Stevens said.
And things got tough in the fourth quarter. The Celtics blew their massive lead, and suddenly found themselves nursing a three-point advantage in the waning moments. But Pressey helped weather the storm and Boston eked out the win.
“To his credit, I thought he pulled guys in and together instead of when something doesn’t go our way we’re not together,” Stevens said.
There’s speculation that Rondo will return on Friday against the Lakers. But Boston hopes to ease Rondo back into action, and Pressey’s strong outing suggests that he’ll continue to see big minutes until Rondo’s healthy.
|MarShon Brooks: ‘I don’t have a role’||11.14.13 at 12:55 am ET|
As the Celtics failed to shoot 40 percent for the second time in a week, one of the few players on the roster capable of creating his own shot watched from the bench for the eighth time in nine games.
Admittedly, MarShon Brooks is frustrated. He’s played seven minutes all season and none since being on the floor for a 13-1 run that erased a double-digit deficit against the Pistons two weeks ago. Other than that, he’s been a DNP.
“I’m trying not to get frustrated, because I know my time’s going to come,” said Brooks, “and if I’m frustrated, then I’m playing against myself, so all I can do is just stay in shape and be ready.
“Right now, I’m not playing at all. I don’t have a role. I’m just cheering right now, trying to cheer my teammates on and let them know what I see. That’s about it.”
Brooks isn’t complaining. He would’ve been content letting Jeff Green in the next locker over answer all the questions after the C’s first loss in five games. Brooks was just being honest. The Providence product started 47 games and dropped 12.6 points a night for the Nets during his rookie campaign two years ago. Any player, especially one who tasted individual success so early, would crave playing time again on a young team.
“What goes through my head? I just want to go in,” said Brooks. “And then from there, I’ll just take care of my business, man. When my opportunity comes, I’m going to try to go out there, just be solid, not do too much and just play ball. I’ll run into points. I’m just going to play hard on defense. The scoring will come.”
Of course, Brooks understands the flip side of the NBA coin. Once the Nets acquired Deron Williams and Joe Johnson for their move to Brooklyn, he took a backseat. His minutes were slashed in half, and his production went with it. The trade to the Celtics seemed like a fresh start full of opportunity that just hasn’t presented itself yet.
“It’ll come,” said Brooks. “I’ll have my opportunity to play. It’s a long season.”
|When Reggie Evans gives you lemons …||10.25.13 at 11:03 am ET|
As a joke, Reggie Evans and his teammates autographed a pair of lemons and had a ballboy deliver them across the locker room to his former teammates, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans.
Either this is some strange inside joke among a bunch of former Brooklynite buddies who share a common love of citrus or Evans & Co. just squeezed the Celtics-Nets trade right in their former teammates’ eyes. I can’t be the only one who thinks Evans is saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And why didn’t they send an autographed yellow fruit over for Gerald Wallace? I’m sure he would have found it hilarious. Or not.
|Fast Break: Bradley, Bass help Celtics cut down Nets||01.04.12 at 9:49 pm ET|
Thanks to 24 points from Paul Pierce and double-doubles from both Kevin Garnett (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (15 points, 13 rebounds), the Celtics outscored the Nets 29-12 in the third quarter and dominated the shorthanded visitors 89-70 on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t all pretty for the C’s, as Providence College product Marshon Brooks‘s 15 first-half points gave the Nets a 35-34 lead after 24 sloppy minutes on both sides.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Truth will set you free: Celtics captain Paul Pierce submitted another remarkably efficient effort, totaling 24 points on 14 shots, six rebounds and five assists in under 30 minutes. His production helped the Celtics turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 16-point C’s advantage after three quarters.
Bass is a beast: The Cs Sixth Man once again came up big for the shorthanded Celtics, recording his second double-double of the season and his first since totaling 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Knicks on Christmas Day. Likewise, Avery Bradley turned in his best performance of the season, exerting his usual energy on defense (2 steals) and even contribution offensively (11 points).
The Nets came to town: Playing against a team that isn’t expected to compete for a playoff spot, even with its best players, the Celtics faced a New Jersey squad missing its starting point guard (Deron Williams), center (Brook Lopez) and power forward (Kris Humphries). That alone allowed Celtics coach Doc Rivers to test his bench and survive without Ray Allen and the always enjoyable flu-like symptoms.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Letting the Nets hang around: Just as they did time and time again last season, the Celtics let an inferior team hang around far too long. Sure, they put New Jersey away in the second half, but failure to execute combined with not taking opponents seriously for long stretches of games is never a good thing.
Rondo’s carelessness: Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo may have entered the game with the NBA’s second-best assist average (10.5 per game), but he also came in leading the league in turnovers per game with 4.7 a night. Wednesday night saw a few more unforced errors in his passing game, as he turned the ball over three times in the first half.
Hitting the Brooks: Rookie MarShon Brooks — who was traded by the Celtics for JaJuan Johnson on draft day — started for the Nets and finished with 15 first-half points. New Jersey often ran its offense through the Providence College product. Meanwhile, Johnson did not see the floor for the Celtics in the first half.
|Chris Mannix on M&M: JaJuan Johnson ‘could become a legitimate starter in this league’||06.24.11 at 12:17 pm ET|
SI.com’s Chris Mannix spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday morning about Thursday’s draft and the collective bargaining agreement negotiations. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Mannix said that although he needs development, Celtics first-round draft pick JaJuan Johnson “in a few years could become a legitimate starter in this league.”
“He is a big guy, a legitimate 6-foot-10 with that I think 7-foot-2 wingspan,” Mannix said. “He’s a very good low-post player. … I think with NBA coaching he can become an even more polished offensive player.”
Mannix also said that Johnson should develop well under the veteran leadership the Celtics have.
“I think JaJuan Johnson is going to benefit enormously from playing behind Kevin Garnett for a year, and practicing against him for a year, two years,” Mannix said. “I think having Garnett and having Ray Allen on the roster are invaluable assets, because guys are going to be able to learn from these two guys.”
|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Providence SG Marshon Brooks||06.14.11 at 9:54 am ET|
WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).
Position: Shooting Guard
Weight: 195 pounds
Stats: 24.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.5 apg
What he brings: Any comparison to Kobe Bryant — good or bad — will grab the attention of scouts from every NBA team. And the wiry Brooks has been linked to both sides of Bryant.
An elite scorer who can create his own shot, as evidenced by his 24.6 points per game (second only to BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in the country), the Atlanta native also attempted 17.8 shots a game. Not only has Brooks’ shot selection been questioned, but he’s also been equated to a black hole for the basketball (98 turnovers vs. 80 assists).
Still, his production and efficiency (48.3 FG%, 34.0 3PT FG%, 77.2 FT%) as a senior are undeniable, and the struggling Friars (15-17) required Brooks to shoot in order to contend in the Big East. Just take a look at the box score from Providence’s 94-93 loss to Notre Dame. He scored 52 points on 20-of-28 shooting.
Defensively, Brooks hasn’t played much man-to-man in the Providence system, but his ridiculous 7-foot-1 wingspan along with his per-game rebounding (7.0), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.2) numbers from the two-guard position offer evidence of his potential on that end.
Brooks prefers comparisons to Jamal Crawford over Bryant, and that’s probably a better best-case scenario for him. Considering the Celtics are expected to be among the rumored destinations for the Hawks free agent and 2010 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Brooks offers a cheaper alternative if the Celtics decide to go that route.
Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.
What they’re saying: “I was very, very surprised. He’s an untamed talent. His size and ability to make shots will get him drafted. He’s crafty in his ability to create space for his game and with the right team he can help somebody in the league.” – Attack Athletics (Chicago) trainer Mike Procopio, a transplanted Boston native whose current and former clients included Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant among others
Notes: I’m always skeptical of guys in any sport whose stock rises — nay, soars — at draft combines, and Brooks certainly falls into that category, climbing all the way to No. 19 on ESPN’s latest Top 100 Draft Prospects chart. … I’m also wary of 22-year-old guys who blossomed late in college (14.2 points per game as a junior), and then never returned to school after Spring Break of his senior year despite needing only two classes to graduate. … Just think of the nickname possibility if the Celtics do draft Brooks: The Green Marshon!